Four Southern Californians Arrested for Employer Premium Fraud Scheme

July 12, 2000

Following a nine-month investigation, Mostafa Behesti, 43, and Rahimi Morteza, 59, owners of Castello Inc., along with bookkeeper Emma Luz Guerzon, 46, and Margaro Haro, 37, owner of Haro’s Landscaping, were all indicted by a San Diego grand jury on July 10.

The four Southern California residents were charged with insurance fraud for their alleged involvement in an employer premium fraud scheme. According to investigators, Behesti, Morteza and Guerzon worked together to falsify wage reports in order to obtain lower workers’ comp premiums.

Their engineering company would allegedly bid on government contracts, agreeing to pay its employees prevailing wages in order to complete the contracted work. However, after obtaining the contracts, Castello Inc. paid their employees less than the agreed upon wages, pocketing the remaining money.

Haro’s Landscaping did sub-contract work for Castello Inc. and was involved in the scheme. The San Diego District Attorney’s Office, the Department of Industrial Relations and the Employment Development Department assisted the CDI Fraud Division in the investigation. As a result of the fraudulent activities, the estimated total loss is roughly $1.1 million.

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